As the main city on the island of Grand Bahama, Freeport has no shortage of things to keep visitors entertained. Outdoor enthusiasts can head to nearby Lucayan National Park to go kayaking or explore the beautiful caves, while beach bums can simply park themselves on a beautiful white sand beach with a cocktail in hand. Of course, there are also plenty of opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, shopping, and enjoying the local food and beverages. No matter where your interests lie or how much time you have, here are the best sights and activities the area has to offer.
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1.Peterson Cay National Park
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Roughly 1 mile offshore of Grand Bahama, Peterson Cay National Park is a tiny island surrounded by active coral reefs. Covering only 1.5 acres, it's the smallest park in the Bahamas, but it offers plenty of incredible opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving. Visitors can reach the island either by boat or by jet ski; some tours will also include a stop on the island so that visitors can spend some time relaxing on the beach. The island itself is an excellent place to enjoy a picnic or do some birdwatching, and chairs, umbrellas, and lockers are available for rent.
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2.Rand Nature Center
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Nestled on 100 beautiful acres in the heart of Freeport, the Rand Nature Center is a nature-lover's paradise. Visitors can stroll along the 2,000-foot trail that winds through the pine forest and coppice; there are plenty of educational signs and exhibits that cover topics such as the local flora and fauna, traditional Bahamian culture, and visual art by local artists. The center is also home to a wide variety of bird species that reside in the park all year round, but the best time to birdwatch here is between October and May, when migratory birds arrive for the winter.
E Settlers Way, Freeport, The Bahamas, Phone: 242-352-5438
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3.The Garden of the Groves
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Perfect for anyone looking to relax and unwind, the Garden of the Groves is a tranquil garden oasis with plenty of shady paths and beautiful waterfalls and fountains. In addition to wandering along the trails and admiring the wide variety of lush tropical plants, guests can do a bit of shopping in the gift store, enjoy a meal or a drink at the garden cafe, or visit the picturesque little church. Families will appreciate the playground and the charming labyrinth, and the garden often hosts special events such as art classes, summer camps, and special birdwatching tours.
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4.The Parliament Square Cultural Center
© The Parliament Square Cultural Center
Constructed in the early 1800s by American Loyalists, Parliament Square is located right in downtown Nassau. The square is best-known for its pink colonial-style buildings, including the House of Assembly and the Supreme Court of The Bahamas. The Parliament Square Cultural Center offers unique, local-guided tours of this important landmark and of other attractions in the area. Tours also cover various aspects of Bahamian culture, including art and literature, Christianity, traditional handicrafts, and daily life. Guests will usually get the chance to participate in interactive experiences such as listening to music, dancing, and drinking traditional herbal tea.
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5.Bootleg Chocolates & Cafe
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Family owned and operated, Bootleg Chocolates & Café specializes in hand-crafted treats made using high-quality European chocolate. The recipes used have been passed down through the family for generations, but are modified to suit modern tastes. Ingredients like fresh fruit and berries, spices that are native to the region, and locally produced rum are used to produce decadent treats like Key lime caramels and black tea and ginger cream-filled chocolates. Visitors to the cafe can also sit down and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or coffee along with their chocolate; lucky visitors may even get to watch the chocolates being made.
Port Lucaya Marketplace, Freeport, Bahamas, Phone: 242-373-6303
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One of the most popular tour and activity companies in the country, Bahamas Adventures offers a wide range of tours that cater to all ages and interests. Adults can pamper themselves with a luxury sunset sail, while families can choose to go on a snorkel tour, join a boat trip to the nearby national park, or simply relax on the beach and enjoy the activities and refreshments provided at the company's beach club. There are plenty of adventures for adrenaline junkies as well, including exciting jet ski safaris and introductory scuba diving courses and excursions.
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7.Bahamian Brewery & Beverage Company
© Bahamian Brewery & Beverage Company
Founded in 2007, the Bahamian Brewery & Beverage Company is the country’s only brewery owned and operated exclusively by Bahamians. Sands Beer was the first beer the brewery made, and it remains the favorite local beer in the Bahamas to this very day. The brewery sits on 20 acres of land near Grand Bahama Harbor; the brewery itself is roughly 60,000 square feet in size, and guided tours are available. All tours end with a complimentary beer tasting, and visitors are also welcome to enjoy the on-site beer garden, souvenir and retail store, and liquor store.
Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas, Phone: 242-352-4070
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8.Calabash Eco Adventures
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Offering a selection of exciting nature-based adventures, Calabash Eco Adventures was founded by local Bahamian Shamie Basil Rolle, known to some as the Bahamian Jacques Cousteau. Tours are offered on both the land and the water; options include kayaking adventures, cavern dives in Lucayan National Park, birdwatching tours, and a bike ride tour along the island followed by the chance to snorkel off the beach. All tours include free pickup and drop-off anywhere in the Freeport resort area, and some also offer the opportunity to sample some of the local cuisine and learn about the fascinating history of the island.
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Situated on 46 acres of land on one of the highest points in Grand Bahama, Cooper's Castle holds the honor of being the only castle on the island. The castle was built in the 1980s by Mr. Harvard Cooper, a local Bahamian who went from owning only one pair of pants as a child to being one of the richest men in the country. The castle is inhabited by the Cooper family to this day, but guided tours are available to the public and the family sometimes accepts bookings for weddings and other special events.
Freeport, Bahamas, Phone: 242-727-3314
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10.Dover Sound Kayak Adventure
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Dover Sound is one of the biggest creek systems in Freeport, and Dover Sound Kayak Adventure brings guests on an exciting kayak tour through the park's shallow waters and evergreen forests. Kayakers have a good chance of spotting birds, fish, and other aquatic creatures, including reddish egrets, checkered puffer fish, and sea sponges. After the kayaking is over, guests will be given some time to relax on the beautiful white sand beach of Banana Bay. Tours last approximately 6 hours including pick up and drop off time, and customers can choose to add lunch to their trip for an additional fee.
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11.Junkanoo Museum of The Bahamas
© Junkanoo Museum of The Bahamas
Junkanoo began as a celebration for slaves who were given time off at Christmas, and the Junkanoo Museum of The Bahamas is dedicated to educating visitors about this tradition and about other aspects of Bahamian culture. The exhibits feature everything from costumes and fabrics to musical items, and there is also an interactive section in which visitors can make masks and dance to traditional Bahamian music. The museum is open Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm; several tour options are available, including a self-guided tour and a comprehensive tour led by an official guide.
#3 Yellowpine Street, Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, Phone: 242-352-5324
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12.Pat & Diane Snorkeling
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With more than 30 years of experience, Pat & Diane Snorkeling is a family-owned and operated company that offers an excellent selection of snorkel and boat excursions for people of all ages. Tours range in length from 3 to 5 hours; popular options include an exciting sea safari and a snorkeling tour that takes place off a beautiful deserted beach. Free round-trip transportation is provided to resorts in the Freeport area, and the company is happy to pick guests up at the cruise ship port and time the excursions to fit around the cruise ship schedule.
Port Lucaya Marketplace Square, Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, Phone: 242-373-8681
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Offering the opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful parts of the Bahamas on horseback, Pinetree Stables is home to gentle horses born and bred on the island. The rides are last approximately 2 hours and take guests through a wide variety of terrain, including through a pine forest and across the sand dunes to the ocean. The maximum rider weight is 200 lbs., and helmets are both recommended and supplied. Reservations are required, and the price includes round-trip transportation to and from the cruise ship terminal as well as photos of the trip sent via email.
N. Beachway Dr., Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, Phone: 242-602-2122
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14.Port Lucaya Marketplace
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Located 12 miles away from the harbor, the Port Lucaya Marketplace is undoubtedly the best destination for shopping and dining on the island. In addition to over 40 boutique shops offering items like high-quality leather goods and cameras, there are roughly 120 vendors selling handwoven baskets, bags, and other handicrafts. After shopping, visitors can enjoy a meal in one of the 16 restaurants or purchase a snack from one of the vendors. If you want to take a break from the market atmosphere, beautiful white sandy beaches are within easy walking distance, and there are several companies offering watersport adventures and bike tours.
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15.Robinson Crusoe Beach Party and Snorkel Tour
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Just as the name implies, the Robinson Crusoe Beach Party and Snorkel Tour is an exciting boat tour that includes both snorkeling and a celebration on a beautiful deserted beach. Unlimited rum punch is provided all throughout the tour, and after boating out to a shallow reef, guests will enjoy 90 minutes of snorkeling with all the equipment provided. The next stop is a stunning private beach, where guests will be served a delicious buffet-style lunch of chicken and ribs. At this point, guests can choose to play beach volleyball, dance, or simply lounge on the beach.
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Originally founded as a group for scuba diving enthusiasts, Unexso is now an experienced tour company that offers a variety of exciting dive trips and other adventures in and on the water. Tours are available for people of almost all ages and abilities; highlights include swimming and interacting with dolphins in the company's special dolphin lagoon, diving with sharks and dolphins out in the open water, and exploring mysterious sunken ships. The company is happy to cater to brand-new divers on most of their trips, but they also offer introductory diving courses in their on-site training pool.
1 Sea Horse Road, Freeport, Bahamas, Phone: 242-373-1244
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16 Best Things to Do in Freeport, Bahamas
- Peterson Cay National Park, Photo: Courtesy of Lucille - Fotolia.com
- Rand Nature Center, Photo: Courtesy of Henner Damke - Fotolia.com
- The Garden of the Groves, Photo: Courtesy of Nenad - Fotolia.com
- The Parliament Square Cultural Center, Photo: The Parliament Square Cultural Center
- Bootleg Chocolates & Cafe, Photo: Courtesy of danissimo1992 - Fotolia.com
- Bahamas Adventures, Photo: Courtesy of Pinosub - Fotolia.com
- Bahamian Brewery & Beverage Company, Photo: Bahamian Brewery & Beverage Company
- Calabash Eco Adventures, Photo: Courtesy of Dmytro - Fotolia.com
- Cooper's Castle, Photo: Courtesy of Sir_Oliver - Fotolia.com
- Dover Sound Kayak Adventure, Photo: Courtesy of Thawatphong Bunsoemm - Fotolia.com
- Junkanoo Museum of The Bahamas, Photo: Junkanoo Museum of The Bahamas
- Pat & Diane Snorkeling, Photo: Courtesy of Tropical studio - Fotolia.com
- Pinetree Stables, Photo: Courtesy of maylat - Fotolia.com
- Port Lucaya Marketplace, Photo: Courtesy of normalfx - Fotolia.com
- Robinson Crusoe Beach Party and Snorkel Tour, Photo: Courtesy of Sviatoslav Kovtun - Fotolia.com
- Unexso, Photo: Courtesy of Richard Carey - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Albo - Fotolia.com